We are so excited to have author Ciera Burch on our blog today. Her new book, Finch House, is a spooky middle grade which releases on September 5th and deals with generational trauma and family ties. Read her essay below:
I love spending time with my grandparents. Whether it's by watching every show on the Game Show Network for hours, cooking a meal, or, well, driving around to find the treasure in other people's trash, I've always enjoyed the quality time. When you come from a loud, talkative family, it's always nice when you can get a moment or two to talk or sit in silence with just one or two other people. Spending quality time with my poppop is actually a big part of why Finch House exists.
As a kid, driving around looking for salvageable things from the trash on the curb in different neighborhoods, otherwise known as going networking, with my poppop was pretty rare. I was usually visiting after he'd already gone or it was the wrong day or too late in the evening for it. There was a sweet spot for networking, you see. The morning of the day before trash day. Too early and the curbs were empty. Too late and the garbage workers had snatched it all up. So, the times I did get to go with him were extra special.
Most of our time was spent driving around different neighborhoods, and sometimes towns, more than anything else, but that was always my favorite part. I didn't really care if we found an almost-new vacuum or a perfectly good chair, I just liked spending time with my poppop and getting to pepper him with questions or tell him about whatever book I was reading.
In Finch House, Micah enjoys this quality time too. In fact, it's what makes the idea of moving so difficult for her because unlike me, she lives with her poppop. She gets moments of quality time with him every day and the idea of those moments becoming rarer, especially while she and Poppop both get older, is a hard thing to wrap her head around. Although there are parts of his life that Poppop doesn't share, which is made very clear in the book, there's a lot that he does. Their interactions throughout her life opened Micah up to plenty of history—what his life was like as a kid and how it was different from hers, the things he enjoyed doing since he didn't have the internet—but also allowed her insight into who Poppop was as a person, outside of being a father and grandfather.
By spending quality time together, they're able to have a reciprocal relationship where they can learn and ask about each other. And while there is still plenty Micah comes to find out that she doesn't know about him or who he used to be, their bond is as strong as it is because the time they have spent together and what they've shared has helped make it so. So strong, even, that she’s willing to brave a haunted house to look for him because sometimes the connections we share with our loved ones can be even bigger than our fears.
Would I also go in a haunted house to find my own poppop? Yes, but I think I’d be a lot more scared about it.
From the publishers:
Encanto meets Coraline in this spooky middle grade story that deals with family ties, fear of change, and generational trauma as it follows a girl who must convince an old, haunted house to release its hold on her and her family.
Eleven-year-old Micah has no interest in moving out of her grandfather’s house. She loves living with Poppop and their shared hobby of driving around rich neighborhoods to find treasures in others’ trash. To avoid packing, Micah goes for a bike ride and ends up at Finch House, the decrepit Victorian that Poppop says is Off Limits. Except when she gets there, it’s all fixed up and there’s a boy named Theo in the front yard. Surely that means Finch House isn’t Off Limits anymore? But when Poppop finds her there, Micah is only met with his disappointment.
By the next day, Poppop is nowhere to be found. After searching everywhere, Micah’s instincts lead her back to Finch House. But once Theo invites her inside, Micah realizes she can’t leave. And that, with its strange whispers and deep-dark shadows, Finch House isn’t just a house…it’s alive.
Can Micah find a way to convince the house to let her go? Or will she be forced to stay in Finch House forever?